FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Steven Henke
Bank of America Awards Grant to Desert AIDS Project
Funding will support nutrition services.
PALM SPRINGS, CA (June 19, 2017) Bank of America awarded a grant of $20,000 that will assist Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) in preventing hunger for low-income people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA). D.A.P. has formed an alliance with AAP/Food Samaritans to better serve the needs of our community, while working to minimize the duplication of services. Grant funds will be used to purchase and distribute fresh produce, healthy staples, and grocery vouchers benefitting at least 300 food-insecure PLWHA monthly, year-round.
Low-income PLWHA face serious barriers to meeting basic needs, including food and shelter, that contribute to postponing or foregoing medical care altogether, resulting in delayed access to care, negative health outcomes and escalating service costs (“Comprehensive Needs Assessment 2014, “CNA 2014” Inland Empire HIV Planning Council, “IEHPC”). Currently, the average annual household income of D.A.P. clients receiving food services is $11,892.75, well below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). At least 50% of D.A.P. clients receive Supplementary Security Income based on disability, rendering them ineligible for the CalFresh food “stamp” program. In a recent survey of PLWHA in our region, respondents identified Food Services as their most used support service, at 58.5% (CNA 2014, IEHPC). Access to nutrition produces tangible health benefits for HIV-infected clients. HIV medication regimens require wholesome nutrition to reinforce the beneficial effects of the drugs taken (“Living Well with HIV/AIDS: A Manual on Nutritional Care and Support for People Living with HIV/AIDS,” U.S.D.A., 2002). Nutritious food is a vital “co-therapy” working with medical intervention to stabilize or improve health for PLWHA such as warding off “wasting,” a severe loss of muscle tissue that may accompany HIV. D.A.P’s Nutrition Services Program helps HIV-infected clients to maintain body weight, strength, replace lost vitamins and minerals and support the efficacy of medication, thereby improving their response to treatment and reducing the risk of disease transmission and progression of HIV to AIDS.
“We recognize that expenses associated with treatment for HIV and AIDS can inhibit economic mobility and limit access to essential resources like healthy food,” said Al Arguello, Inland Empire market president, Bank of America. “We are proud to support Desert Aids Project in their work to ensure people living with HIV and AIDS never have to choose between meeting their basic needs and seeking life-saving care.”
D.A.P.’s overarching, mission-driven goal is to provide greater access to health and human services for low-income PLWHA as well as the economically disadvantaged and underserved community. Since becoming a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Look-Alike in 2012 and a full FQHC in 2015, D.A.P. has expanded its operational capacity to provide primary medical care to all low-income members of the community living below 200% of FPL regardless of HIV status or the ability to pay for healthcare. The number of unduplicated patients we served grew 55% from calendar years 2015 to 2016, from 2,703 patients in 2015 to 4205 in 2016. For over 30 years, D.A.P. has endeavored to meet the evolving needs of PLWHA while protecting the health of the surrounding community by preventing new HIV infections through prevention education and outreach. In calendar year 2015-2016, D.A.P. served 2,426 low-income, racially and ethnically diverse men, women, and adolescents living with HIV/AIDS.
D.A.P.’s Nutrition Services Program, operating since 2001, has long addressed food insecurity and the nutritional needs of clients receiving HIV medications, as well as suffering from co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer. D.A.P. meets the specialized dietary needs of its clients by including recommended food choices, as well as supplementary nutritional drinks in our food distribution services. Additionally, its on-staff Registered Dietician provides D.A.P. clients suffering from the side effects of HIV medications, and/or co-morbid conditions with dietary guidance to improve health.
About Desert AIDS Project
Desert AIDS Project (D.A.P.) is a Federally Qualified Health Center in Palm Springs, CA offering D.A.P. Total Care – a combination of medical, dental, counseling, social services, support groups, alternative therapies, in-house pharmacy and lab, and other health and wellness services. D.A.P.’s sexual health clinic, The DOCK, offers STD testing and treatment, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP), and HIV and HCV testing. D.A.P.’s Get Tested Coachella Valley campaign, the nation’s first region-wide free HIV testing and access to care initiative, was recognized by the White House for helping to bring about an AIDS-free future. D.A.P. is rated a “Top 20 HIV Charity” by About.com. Visit www.desertaidsproject.org, www.thedockclinic.org, and www.gettestedcoachellavalley.org to learn more.